NORTH AYRSHIRE WILD’S Kenny Fleetham believes their young guns can help forget about a nightmare season last year and drive them to better things this time.
Wild finally take to the ice in anger on Sunday when they travel to take on the champions Kirkcaldy Kestrels in their SNL opener.
And the forward insists the future is bright at the club despite the ninth place finish in the previous campaign.
He said: “Last season was a disappointing time for the Wild and I feel any team with a short bench is going to struggle in a full three period game, never mind a full season.
“What happened last year is in the past and we’re moving forward with some familiar faces and a different bunch of new players to the team.
“For me, our young talented guys up to SNL are the ones to watch. They’ve been with the club a long time and are proof that North Ayrshire Ice Hockey Club is developing some talented players.
“We all know what we need to do and we are determined to go in to every game for the win, starting with Sunday in Kirkcaldy.”
While their rivals have all played at least three games, between Autumn Cup and SNL matches, North Ayrshire have had to kick their heels and play a waiting game.
They pulled out of the Autumn Cup due to a lack of numbers, between players leaving and some having to work.
Fleetham admits it’s been a difficult start to 2015/16, but doesn’t believe his team are at a disadvantage going into Sunday’s trip to the reigning champions.
And he reckons hard work and unity could be the key in trying to overcome the Kestrels.
He added: “It was a complicated, losing a few players who moved to Paisley and on top of that a number of players had work commitments.
“That meant they couldn’t commit to training and games, but I don’t feel that we will be at a disadvantage looking ahead to the weekend.
“All the guys on the team kept themselves fit during the off season and we are working well together in training.
“While it’s been a difficult start, I believe in our club. All the staff behind the scenes has worked hard and the team has gone through some changes over the past two seasons.
“But it was always going to be a tough game to go up against last year’s league champions in our first game of the season, but we’re looking forward to it and plan to give it all we’ve got.
“I think the main key to beating any opponent is to work hard as a team and give 100% every time you step on the ice.
“The Kestrels are a well drilled team and play well together so we need to respect that, but also believe in ourselves and take it to them.”